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2014-Era GTX 970 Emerges as Value GPU on eBay During Shortage

A dusty and decrepit Zotac GTX 970 — still kicking!

A dusty and decrepit Zotac GTX 970 — it's not dead yet! (Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Our GPU pricing index shows just how overpriced the latest graphics cards are, if you're even willing to bother with eBay. Trying to sift through eBay sold listings while eliminating fake "here's a picture of a card" red herrings takes some effort, but the clear trend is that every GPU that's even remotely useful for mining has shot up in price, dragging most recent GPUs along for the ride. But what's the best value if you simply have to buy a graphics card right now? Say hello to some old friends!

Based on the performance we measured in our GPU benchmarks hierarchy, and combined with current (the past week) eBay prices, we generated an FPS-to-dollar metric to see which cards might be worth considering. The winner, as you've no doubt guessed from the headline, was Nvidia's relatively ancient GTX 970 card from late 2014.

The GTX 970 sports the Maxwell architecture, with 5.2 billion transistors fabricated on TSMC's 28nm high-performance node. Those were good times! The chip also measures nearly 400mm square, and by way of comparison, the latest Ampere GA104 chip used in the RTX 3070 and RTX 3060 Ti is only a touch smaller (393mm square compared to 398mm square) but has over triple the number of transistors. Not surprisingly, the 3060 Ti is over three times as fast as the GTX 970.

So how is the GTX 970 the "best value" on eBay? It comes down to the almighty dollar. You can find GTX 970 cards for just under $200. That's not a great deal by any stretch, but it does represent the best FPS/$ right now. And if you get lucky, you might even snag one for closer to $125. How long will a five or six-year-old graphics card last? That's certainly a big part of the risk, but in absolute performance even aging Maxwell still performs okay — it's actually slightly faster than Nvidia's GTX 1650, for example (not the 1650 Super or 1650 GDDR6, though).

We're not suggesting most people try to buy such a GPU, but if you simply have to have something and you don't want to spend a lot of money, it's one of the better options right now. It can also manage over 60 fps at 1080p medium settings in most modern games, though obviously there are exceptions. There are other "oldies but goodies" (sort of good, anyway) to consider, like the GTX 980 and R9 390, but prices on the latter are back above $300. AMD's RX 570 4GB ranks as the second-best GPU using the same metrics, with a median price of $225. And those cards are likely much newer — but possibly used for 24/7 mining, so don't count on getting a pristine GPU either way.

Here's the full list of graphics cards with their accompanying performance that we've sorted by FPS/$. You can see the relative performance rank in the far right column as well.

(Prices and performance testing current as of March 2, 2021.)

Graphics Card Value Based on Current eBay Pricing
GPUFPS ScoreeBay PriceFPS/$Performance Rank
GTX 97033.81$197 0.171642
RX 570 4GB38.52$225 0.171239
R9 Fury X49.97$306 0.163330
GTX 98040.36$257 0.15738
GTX 1060 3GB34.04$224 0.15241
GTX 980 Ti50.28$339 0.148328
R9 39041.51$319 0.130136
GTX 1080 FE69.08$533 0.129621
RX 560 4GB19.14$148 0.129445
GTX 1070 Ti FE63.89$494 0.129324
GTX 1070 FE56.11$437 0.128427
GTX 105018.63$150 0.124246
GTX 1660 Ti57.77$479 0.120626
GTX 1080 Ti FE88.2$750 0.117613
GTX 1650 Super43.47$372 0.116834
RTX 2080 Super FE102.07$878 0.11639
GTX 1060 6GB FE40.41$350 0.115537
RTX 2060 FE68.55$595 0.115222
GTX 1650 GDDR636.4$317 0.114840
GTX 1050 Ti24.51$214 0.114544
RTX 2080 FE95.49$836 0.114210
RX 59049.41$435 0.113631
GTX 1660 Super57.92$516 0.112225
RX 5500 XT 4GB43.32$390 0.111135
RTX 2070 Super FE91$820 0.11111
RTX 2070 FE81.03$740 0.109516
RX 5500 XT 8GB48.6$450 0.10832
GTX 166050.12$469 0.106929
RX Vega 6473.98$693 0.106819
RTX 2060 Super FE77.22$730 0.105818
RX 58047.18$450 0.104833
RX Vega 5665.26$639 0.102123
RX 5600 XT71.11$697 0.10220
GTX 165031.9$317 0.100643
RTX 2080 Ti FE118.16$11770.10046
RX 6800127.27$12730.15
RX 6800 XT142.31$14610.09743
RTX 3070 FE116.6$12500.09337
RTX 306083.6$904 0.092515
RX 570078.43$853 0.09217
RX 5700 XT86.53$945 0.091614
RTX 3060 Ti FE106.31$12220.0878
RX 6900 XT146.86$17590.08352
RTX 3080 FE142.14$20840.06824
RTX 3090 FE152.72$29320.05211
Radeon VII89.91$18500.048612

If you like charts (disclaimer: I like charts!), here's the eBay pricing data from the past two months — January and February, 2021 — showing the pricing trends. We've attempted to eliminate 'false' and 'fake' listings, so these are only the sold listings (which can still be incorrect in some cases), but the trends are easy enough to see. The good news is that at least some of the most desirable cards appear to have peaked and are now starting to decline in prices. Fingers crossed.

It's also interesting to see which cards are the most popular on eBay. Obviously the new Ampere GPUs are near the top of the list, but Pascal GPUs continue to sell a lot of units as well. For AMD, the RX 580 8GB and RX 5700 XT are far and away the two most popular eBay options — many other cards would likely rate higher, if there were more available.

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eBay GPU pricing, January and February 2021

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eBay GPU pricing, January and February 2021

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eBay GPU pricing, January and February 2021

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eBay GPU pricing, January and February 2021

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eBay GPU pricing, January and February 2021

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eBay GPU pricing, January and February 2021

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eBay GPU pricing, January and February 2021

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eBay GPU pricing, January and February 2021

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eBay GPU pricing, January and February 2021

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eBay GPU pricing, January and February 2021

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eBay GPU pricing, January and February 2021

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eBay GPU pricing, January and February 2021

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eBay GPU pricing, January and February 2021

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Jarred Walton

Jarred Walton is a senior editor at Tom's Hardware focusing on everything GPU. He has been working as a tech journalist since 2004, writing for AnandTech, Maximum PC, and PC Gamer. From the first S3 Virge '3D decelerators' to today's GPUs, Jarred keeps up with all the latest graphics trends and is the one to ask about game performance.

  • Colif
    looks at his GTX 960 and thinks... i never thought it would be worth anything again.
    Puts it away as its nice to have a spare.
    this is getting silly.
    Reply
  • King_V
    Colif said:
    looks at his GTX 960 and thinks... i never thought it would be worth anything again.
    Puts it away as its nice to have a spare.
    this is getting silly.

    It is, and I've considered putting my son's RX 5700 up for sale, and swapping him back to his RX 580. He knows the 5700 performs better, but given the prices, even he's been like "well, the 580 wasn't terrible..."
    Reply
  • Colif
    I wouldn't sell it, as it only takes bad luck and me needing a new GPU... the 960 isn't a great alternative but since only other one is Intel graphics in the 4690K, I think I would accept it while looking for an expensive replacement.

    I would prefer it if a replacement was possible to buy.
    I don't know if I would sell a GPU now when spares so handy to have.
    Reply
  • bigdragon
    This must be embarrassing for Nvidia that gamers are being forced to turn to 9-series cards now. Nvidia is going to get absolutely screwed once the crypto bubble pops again.

    I've been wanting to sell off my 1070 for a no-extra-cost upgrade to a 3060 Ti or some models of 3070. Haven't been able to purchase a card yet though. I finally put in the time to write a purchase bot, but even it's struggling.
    Reply
  • JarredWaltonGPU
    bigdragon said:
    This must be embarrassing for Nvidia that gamers are being forced to turn to 9-series cards now. Nvidia is going to get absolutely screwed once the crypto bubble pops again.
    Nvidia was selling every Ampere card before the mining surge, and it would have made a lot of money off Ampere at the official prices. Being able to sell every GPU (and then some) at inflated prices just means Nvidia is making even more money. So are its partners. As long as Nvidia doesn't be the farm on a continuing mining surge, it will be fine -- better than fine. If the bubble popped today, right now, and prices dropped back to MSRPs, all that would happen is profits would decrease. Plus, Nvidia likely sells most of its GPUs through contracts with third party AIBs, meaning it doesn't even get a lot of the benefit. That Asus/MSI/Gigabyte/EVGA/etc. RTX 3060 Ti card selling for $649 or whatever? Nvidia still sold the GPU to the AIB at the original contract price (probably something like $199). AIB profits will be hardest hit when the bubble pops, and they'll be the ones dealing with RMAs for years to come.
    Reply
  • Giroro
    I'm Curious where non-gaming cards come in on the price/fps, and budget APUs. I think the only GPUs you can buy right now at semi-resonable prices are in the GT 710 or maybe 1030 tier.
    I'm strongly considering selling my GTX 1080, but I also need to be able to use my computer until this mess blows over.
    Thanks AMD, for removing integrated graphics from all your good CPUs.
    Edit: Actually it turns out all the AM4 APUs are gone too.
    Reply
  • larkspur
    $450 for an RX 580 8gb??? That's USED??? Wut??? Less than a year ago I bought this brand new: https://www.tomshardware.com/news/gigabyte-radeon-rx-580-deal#xenforo-comments-3581510
    To think that I could turn around and sell it a year later for more than 300% of its price is absolutely insanely tempting... Just the principle of it! I mean, I could drop in my old 6970 2gb and go back to playing older games... What a crazy market! Total insanity.
    Reply
  • drtweak
    I'm still rocking a GTX 960 4G SSC and I have zero issues. I'm not one who needs 60+ FPS. I got an extra 5 FPS on Shadow of the Tomb Raider going from 32 to 37 on High @ 1920x1200 just from finally upgrading from my FX 8320 to a Ryzen 5 3600.
    Reply
  • Krotow
    larkspur said:
    $450 for an RX 580 8gb??? That's USED??? Wut??? Less than a year ago I bought this brand new: https://www.tomshardware.com/news/gigabyte-radeon-rx-580-deal#xenforo-comments-3581510
    To think that I could turn around and sell it a year later for more than 300% of its price is absolutely insanely tempting... Just the principle of it! I mean, I could drop in my old 6970 2gb and go back to playing older games... What a crazy market! Total insanity.

    Correct :) Bought used RX 580 4GB for 100€ as Christmas present from our local craigslist in December. Now price for this same used card in same site is already doubled.
    Reply
  • King_V
    Colif said:
    I wouldn't sell it, as it only takes bad luck and me needing a new GPU... the 960 isn't a great alternative but since only other one is Intel graphics in the 4690K, I think I would accept it while looking for an expensive replacement.

    I would prefer it if a replacement was possible to buy.
    I don't know if I would sell a GPU now when spares so handy to have.
    hmm, a good point - spares would definitely be needed. I do have an extra RX 580 that a friend from work loaned me before the pandemic. Twice I've offered to drop it off with him, and he just says "no hurry."

    I'd even offer to try to sell it for him at the currently inflated prices, but, knowing our luck, the day after I did that, the card he's currently using would probably keel over.

    Man, selling my GTX 1080 literally about a month before the crypto-surge is looking more and more like a bad move every day....
    Reply